Avenue Theatre

307 Washington Avenue,
West Plains, MO 65775

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Avenue Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The New Avenue Theatre opened in 1950 with Bob Hope in “Fancy Pants”. It had a seating capacity for 475 in orchestra and balcony levels. It was a small local theatre built in a Neo-Art Deco style. It operated as a movie theatre until 1986.

It was then donated to the Arts on the Avenue, Inc. This non-profit organization was formed to convert the facility into a community theatre. It re-opened in May 1990, and now hosts a variety of programs including a children’s program during the summer.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 19, 2007 at 8:06 pm

Thats putting it mildly.

kencmcintyre on December 13, 2008 at 10:52 am

From Boxoffice magazine, May 1950:

The St. Louis Theater Supply Co. recently sold about 500 International seats to Dean Davis for his new Avenue Theater, now under construction in West Plains, Mo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 23, 2009 at 6:24 am

This theater could be listed as open since it’s being used as a community theater. Here is their website which is now functional.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 23, 2009 at 9:18 am

The phrase, “Yellow Submarine” comes to mind.

What an awful paint scheme.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 23, 2009 at 10:05 am

If they were trying to draw attention to the building, I think that they succeeded. It looks like they tried to cover the marquee with siding in the 1983 photo. The owners of this building seem to enjoy making a fashion statement. LOL

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Dean Davis operated an Avenue Theatre in West Plains prior to 1950, when this house was built. The January 21, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine announced that construction bids had been taken for Dean Davis’s new theater at West Plains on the 17th of that month. The item didn’t give the name of the new house, but said that Davis was the operator of the Davis and Avenue theaters in West Plains. The new theater had been designed by Boller & Lusk of Kansas City.

The March 11, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that construction was proceeding and the new house would be open by June. It would be called the New Avenue Theatre and would have 500 seats (the January 11 issue had said 510 seats.) Equipment from the old Avenue Theatre would be moved to the new house. The item gave the location of the old Avenue Theatre as a leased building on the east side of Washington Avenue, and its seating capacity as 350. It said that Davis had operated this house for several years.

The name New Avenue Theatre must not have stuck for very long, as Boxoffice was back to calling it simply the Avenue Theatre within a couple of years. I don’t know what became of the old Avenue Theatre, but as Davis didn’t own the building it might have been reopened by another operator under another name.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm

This is a September 2009 photo.

kschneiderstl on September 27, 2011 at 1:23 am

I read on a site about hauntings that a lady once killed her baby in the balcony at this theatre. I don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, but does anyone know if such an event did take place?

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